THE ORIGINS OF THE NAME OF THE VILLAGE
The determination of the source of the origin of many old place names is often very difficult and illusive, and the information upon which this small piece of detective work is based is to be found on Ordnance Survey maps, Tithe maps and various books which contain references to the locality that is now known as Fochriw.
It was identified as Brohru Carn in the 12th century and a reference to Fforch y Rhiw is made in the book Parish of Gelligaer by T.V.Davies in the section dealing with Roman History and the route of Heol Adam. It states that “The holding called Fforch y Rhiw, the fork in the road, is mentioned in several Gelligaer leases of the 17 century. The name probably arises from a number of old tracks in the Brithdir Hamlet which tend to converge near Fochriw”.
Another version is obtained from a booklet called Place-Names of Glamorgan published in 1908 as illustrated opposite.
It has also been known as Boch Rhiw Carn, Ffochreiw, Fochrhiw, Vochriw, Vochrhiw and currently Fochriw.
Occupying the north-eastern region of what was the County of Glamorgan, Fochriw is surrounded by the old counties of Monmouthshire, now called Blaenau Gwent, on the east, Brecknockshire, now Powys, on the north and the County Borough of Merthyr Tydfil on the west. On the south lies what was Caerphilly Urban District Council which also used to belong to Glamorgan and, since the new boundary changes, is now the administrative district to which Fochriw belongs. The region is typical of the south Wales coalfield in that it consists of narrow industrialised valleys and intervening moorlands.
A view of the north-eastern part of Fochriw, from the headland of Mynydd Fochriw, with the Brecon Beacons in the background. This depicts the moorland and very open countryside into which Fochriw has been placed
However, the Iron Leases map dated 1763, also shown opposite, identifies the road to Fochriw when the area was just a gathering of hill farms.